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Nicholas Giordano

Dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics

As the new dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics, Nicholas Giordano is busy familiarizing himself with life on The Plains. For more than 30 years, he was a faculty member at one of his alma maters, Purdue University, most recently serving as the head of Purdue's Department of Physics. Giordano said it was difficult leaving longtime friends in Indiana, but he and his wife, Pat, are excited to be building new friendships in Auburn. Giordano runs or bikes every day, and, when he can, he enjoys reading biography and history books. He is also a big baseball fan and still follows his hometown team, the St. Louis Cardinals. Among his research interests are the physics of nanostructures and mesoscopic systems; musical acoustics and the physics of the piano; and computational neuroscience and biological physics. He published a book in 2010 called "Physics of the Piano," and Giordano has a piano collection at his home. He and his wife have two grown children, a son and a daughter, and two grandchildren, twins, whom Giordano said he enjoys spoiling.

Giordano received a bachelor of science from Purdue and a doctorate from Yale University, and he has taught at both universities. In 2004, he was named Indiana Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He is a fellow with the American Physical Society and a member of the Acoustical Society of America, Technical Committee on Musical Acoustics of the ASA, and a member of the Biophysical Society. For more information on Giordano, click here.

1. What have been your impressions of the College of Sciences and Mathematics thus far?

I have been truly impressed by the people of COSAM. The talented students and the dedicated faculty and staff have a deep commitment to the university.

2. What are you most excited about when you look to the future of COSAM?

I am excited about the opportunities I see in a number of areas. COSAM has an opportunity to contribute to the university in so many ways, including the design of new courses and programs for students and the enhancement of our research mission.

3. What do you anticipate will be the biggest challenge of serving as dean of COSAM?

Balancing all the needs of the different departments and staying focused on the big issues we need to work on.

4. Looking back, what was it about academia that appealed to you as you were embarking on your career?

I chose an academic career because I enjoy working with students. The irony is, as dean, I am now a bit more removed from working with students. I hope to keep that connection by working with student groups and student researchers.

5. You collect pianos and your research in the physics of musical instruments is rather unique. How did you first become interested in the physics of the piano and how many pianos do you have?

My interest in the piano started from a course I was teaching, which was about the same time I took it up as an adult. The more I learned about the piano, the more intrigued I became with the physics and certain research aspects, which led to a number of research projects in the general area of musical acoustics.

I have 20 pianos, most of them from the era when the piano was being developed, circa 1750-1850. I am always looking for pianos that fill in a "blank" in my collection.

Sept. 3, 2013